Introductory Statement

Introductory Statement by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 Summit opening session

in Hamburg

We have already been working with some of you at the Retreat, but let me extend a warm welcome once again to all of you. Welcome to Germany!

This is the first time Germany is hosting the G20 Summit. We are delighted to be here in the maritime city of Hamburg. That’s one reason why we chose a seafaring logo for our meeting. It’s a reef knot. As the tension increases, the reef knot becomes tighter.

Our motto for this G20 Presidency is: “Shaping an interconnected world”. Because we represent large parts of the world, there are of course millions of people following us now and hoping, with all their worries, fears and hardships, that we can help to solve the problems. And I believe we should work together here in precisely that spirit. I am also quite sure that everyone here will be trying hard to make sure we achieve good results.

To get us to this high point in our G20 Presidency, our Sherpas have already done a huge amount of work. And they’re going to have to work through another night tonight, but that’s just part of the job.

Many groups in our societies – young people, women, the business community, workers, academia and the scientific community and lots of international organisations have given us a good deal of help to get good material and good foundations for our discussions here today. And so I would like to express my gratitude for all the hard work done in advance.

I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our partners. We are delighted that Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Singapore, APEC Chair Viet Nam, Guinea, Chair of the African Union, and the President of Senegal, representing NEPAD, are our guests here, and we welcome them warmly. They have already played a very intensive part in preparing this meeting.

We are all familiar with the major global challenges. We know that time is of the essence. That’s why solutions can often only be found if we are willing to compromise, if we are flexible – without, however – and I say this quite deliberately – bending too much, because it is true that we can point to some differences.

After all, we represent two-thirds of the world’s population, four-fifths of global GDP, and three-quarters of global trade. So those not here today are in fact right to expect us to do a decent job. The German side tried to take account of these issues in putting together the agenda, obviously with regard to the economy and trade, but also with regard to climate change and energy policy. Germany has made Africa a priority, because, speaking from the European perspective, we regard Africa as our neighbouring continent and we must do everything possible to take it forward. Health plays a central role.

We will be discussing all these issues, and of course also the role of women in a world in which they still don’t have equality, in which they often have a harder time of things, while at the same time bearing the main responsibility for families and young people.

Thank you all for coming.

Now I would ask the press to leave us, so that we can work on in peace. I can assure you that we will then get on with the session on global trade and the global economy, the core competences of the G20.

Friday, 7 July 2017